Former PM still active
WHAT DOES A former Prime Minister do when he no longer has to deal with affairs of state or travel as much as before?
If he is Owen Seymour Arthur, he spends much time in the quiet outdoors, enjoying the rejuvenating exercise of planting and reaping.
“I grow these for the house,” he said with an expansive wave that seemed to cover his lawn that is bordered by beds of sweet peppers, lettuce, cabbages, beans and other vegetables.
“I give away plants as gifts and give vegetables to my neighbours. I have always liked growing things,” he added.
Pointing to a blossoming plum tree in the middle of the garden, he told the SATURDAY SUN he had “brought that from St Peter when it was a stick”.
Overlooking the busy west coast, the well manicured garden reflects the ability of an erstwhile busy man – who governed Barbados between 1994 and 2008 – to detach himself somewhat from the political cut-and-thrust and to savour the peace and quiet of home life.
But it’s not a lazy existence these days for the former Opposition Leader who led the Barbados Labour Party into the last general election.
“I’m writing my memoirs, and this is my little study,” he said, walking amid rows of documents including economics papers, Central Bank quarterly reports, books by C. L. R. James, and reams of literature on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.
“Half of my files are at UWI [University of the West Indies] but this is where I work from.
I’m about to write my memoirs, so I’m putting my stuff together. I don’t have a research assistant, so I’m putting these in order,” he said.
“I’ve been doing the memoirs in three phases; the first will be called A Country Boy detailing my experience growing up in rural Barbados before Independence, then my Jamaican days, and finally my public life,” he added
“I went to Jamaica to do postgraduate work . . . I was a Black Power advocate. I also found growing up in Jamaica in those years to be very formative because Jamaica was going through an interesting experience,” he added, noting the 1970s were marked by political and cultural tumult in that country.
“You also learned how not to govern. [Michael] Manley set very high goals but he didn’t manage the economy correctly,” was how Arthur put it. (RJ)